Race Diary - Killarney Oct 10

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Race Diary - Killarney Oct 10

Postby bikemonster on Fri Oct 16, 2009 2:44 pm

Cross posted from TLR forum...'cause my son tells me that sharing is scarey. Or something.

Some days are diamonds. This day very nearly began like the other sort of day. After two especially ferocious work weeks with too much to do and not enough sleeping, I arrived at Killarney race track tired and ratty. You know it’s going to be a rough morning when you end up having a “robust discussion” with the scrutineers over the contents of the MSA White Book. Especially if the next memorable thing that you do is have a brain fade and misjudge, mis-recall and just plain miss your brake mark for the second fastest corner on the circuit. Somehow I got into my head that I brake for Turn 1 at the 50 metre board. That led to floods of adrenaline and finishing up with Blossom’s nose less than a metre from the tyre wall. My real brake point is more like 80 metres from the turn-in point.

And you know it’s not really a diamond of a day even more when you get back to your pit (only it’s not a pit because even though you left home after 5 hours sleep and got to the track before 7:00 and all the pits were taken) and find that you left your transponder behind.

Not that it mattered a jot or a tittle on this occasion, because it turned out that my slightly-too-fast lap time at the last race meeting had been noted and bumped me up from Class E into Class D. That meant no more of the finest plastic ultra-gold trophies which my five year old son (“Cool Dad…a piston cup!”) and I love as much as my wife (“WTF, Sweetie! Not more crap!”) detests them. It also meant no more points, and so my qualifying effort would not have made much difference anyway.

Classes in the WPMC NA Carrera Sports and GT series are based on lap times. Class E is reserved for road legal cars and it’s a really good environment to go racing. As you might expect, the most popular car is a Seven, and there have been as many as five road legal Sevens out to race at any one time. I’ve finally got Blossom going, stopping and turning nicely, in road legal trim, I’m really enjoying the car, so I’m not up for spending money to get into a class where I will be competing (OK, “competing”) against current issue Porsche GT3’s and out and out race cars.

After qualifying (or not, as the case may be), I made breakfast. A croissant, wrapped in tin foil, warms up very nicely on a hot exhaust manifold. Bonnet off, croissant on the manifold. By the time I had changed out of my race gear, relived the excitement of not qualifying with some of my fellow competitors and poured a cup of coffee, I had a warm croissant ready and waiting. In extremis a No. 7 Mechanic’s screwdriver does an adequate job of spreading strawberry jam. Motor racing is all about adaptability and the ability to plan under pressure.

For Heat 1 I, due to my transponder-related numptiness, I was the last guy on the grid. Ahead of me I had, well, everybody. Of specific interest to me were the other road legal cars: Craig Harper and Anthony Cocks (both in Harper Type 5’s), Hennie Trollip (Locost) and Stephen David (Harper Type 5). As I was in class D, but well off the pace for that class, I concentrated on playing nicely with the other guys in road legal cars.

I got a not-so-great start, and spent lots of time jostling with Hennie and Stephen. On lap 2, Craig went off on Turn 1, and he did a good job of catching and passing me. I was hampered by an apparent yellow flag conspiracy which meant that every time I got ready to think about passing, the yellow flags would come out. Di Dugmore in a Lotus 23 missed a gear change, which let a gaggle of us get past her. Hennie got past Stephen, then I got past Stephen and set off in pursuit of Hennie. I had enormous fun dicing Hennie. Several times I thought I’d take a look up the inside, only to have Hennie politely but firmly push the door closed.

With a lap and a half to go I got ahead of Hennie, and set about chasing Jean Fourie in a CAV GT40. On the last lap I managed to outbrake Jean into the last corner, but my glory was short-lived as he outdragged me with contemptuous ease between the end of the corner and the flag.

Heat 2 had me starting where I had finished Heat 1, ahead of Hennie and behind/alongside Jean. Anthony suffered a misfire in the Type 5 which let me get away from him before Turn 1. The first 4 corners of Killarney race track are close together, so I used the twisties and the early race traffic to make sure that I opened up a gap on the GT40. I had to, because the GT40’s mahoosive power means that I needed a cushion before we got to the back straight.

It all worked out perfectly. I got ahead of the GT40 before Turn 1, and then set about shaking Hennie off and trying to keep up with Craig in his Type 5. He was faster than me on the straights, but I was able to limit my losses by regaining some ground under braking. Unfortunately I was losing a fraction of a second or so every lap.

Before the day’s racing started I made a representation to get back into Class E. With a great deal of difficulty, I stuffed my outsize ego into my back pocket and claimed that my sterling lap time at the previous race meeting was not in fact due to my driving god abilities but was in fact a fluke, and that I should therefore be allowed back into Class E. It sort of worked, and I was told that I was on probation for a return into Class E, subject to posting thoroughly Class E lap times for the next two race meetings.

Trouble is, I went and posted another Class D lap time while I was chasing Craig, which kind of scuppered that cunning plan. As it happens, I have another cunning plan, which I will put in place – before the next race meeting I will clip 500 rpm or so off Blossom’s rev limit which will hopefully get me back down into Class E lap times. It’s an unusual conundrum – I need to go slower, so that I can be more competitive.

The big plus, the huge plus for me is that at long last those with no sense of style just have to accept that the clamshells are staying!

Now that you’ve read the book, you can see the movies on youtube:
1st Heat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_eO1wPjtK3U
2nd Heat: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Br12PgRofo
Blossom - Toyota 4AGE 20 V with Toyota 5 speed and ali gear knob for added lightness.

Clamshells - Old School Cool from when retro was still new!
Posts: 335
Joined: Sat Jun 09, 2007 11:32 am
Location: In the driving seat...grinning like a loon.

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